Managing Cybersecurity Risks for Small Businesses

cropped shot of businessman showing laptop, tablet and smartphone with gdpr and cyber security signs

The internet is a powerful tool, but it also presents tremendous risks. Small business owners are often at the mercy of hackers who are looking to make a quick buck by stealing customers’ personal information, financial data, and more. If you’re a small business owner who wants to protect your company from cyberattacks, there are several things that you can do to manage your small business cybersecurity risks. Here are some tips:

Make it hard to guess passwords

  • Use a password manager. Passwords are the first line of defense against cybercriminals, but they’re also one of the easiest things to guess when it comes to hacking into your accounts.
  • Use strong passwords. The more difficult your password is to crack, the more secure it will be and the longer it will take for someone else to access your accounts if they get hold of them by other means. Ensure that each password consists of at least eight characters and includes upper-case letters, lowercase letters, and numbers (or special characters). Also, use different passwords for different websites/accounts so that if one account is hacked or compromised, others won’t be affected as well. Don’t reuse old/common usernames or email addresses across multiple websites, as hackers can easily guess these types of information based on public records like social media profiles or other online public accounts.”

Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a method of confirming your identity by using more than one type of identification. For example, if you want to log in to your account on your computer, you could enter your username and password (one factor). This information gets sent over an encrypted connection to the company’s server, which checks the password against its database. If it finds that it’s correct, the server sends back some additional data that is unique to you—this could be a code displayed via text, email, or even an app on your phone. The system then asks for this second piece of information before allowing access to the account.

Multi-factor authentication helps prevent hackers from accessing sensitive accounts because they wouldn’t have access to both pieces of information needed for authentication.

Extend security to your employees' devices

You want to ensure you have protection from your employees’ devices to the cloud.

  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network): VPNs encrypt data that travels between your device and the internet. It also hides your IP address, so it’s harder for hackers to track you online.
  • Use a password manager: Password managers store all of your passwords in one place, making them easier for you to remember and harder for hackers to access. Popular ones include LastPassDashlaneKeeper, and bitwarden.
  • Use multi-factor authentication: multi-factor authentication adds an extra step when logging into sensitive accounts such as banking websites or email accounts with SMS verification codes sent via text message or phone call. This is especially helpful if someone does get access to one of your login details – they won’t be able to log in without also knowing the second piece of information, like knowing where you were born and your first pets name (or something equally unique). 

Keep your software and apps up to date

You should make sure that the software on all of your devices is always up to date. This includes updating your apps, including antivirus, anti-malware, and operating systems (OS). It’s essential for two reasons:

  • The latest software versions contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities that malicious actors may exploit.
  • When you update software, it’s easier for IT professionals to see if there are any new or unpatched vulnerabilities on your system.

If you’re not sure how often you need to update your apps and OSes, consult with a professional cybersecurity expert who can help evaluate what kind of risk they pose based on their age and other factors. If needed, they’ll advise an appropriate plan for keeping them updated going forward so that hackers can’t take advantage of any exploitable bugs in your software.

Small Business Cyber security risks

Beware of social engineering attacks

It’s worth noting that social engineering attacks are one of the most common ways that hackers gain access to a network. These attacks happen when someone is tricked into giving up information or performing an action they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Social engineering attacks can be carried out by phone, email, and even in person. In fact, they’re often so successful because they play on the human element: people tend to trust others and often think they know what’s best for them, even when there may be no good reason for it (like getting money transferred from your bank account).

Protect your point-of-sale system

  • Use a secure operating system and payment gateway. If your point-of-sale system runs on an insecure operating system, hackers can easily hack into it and steal information from you.
  • Use a secure payment processor. A payment processor is the third party that processes credit card payments when you buy something online or in person with your credit card at the point of sale. If you aren’t using one, you’re more vulnerable to cyber-attacks because hackers can access all of your customers’ data if they breach this part of your network!
  • Ensure that any devices used by employees are also encrypted with strong passwords and passcodes so people who have physical access won’t be able to access sensitive information without authorization first

Have a disaster recovery plan

A disaster recovery plan is a strategy for restoring your business to normal operations after a disaster. It includes what you’ll do in the event of an emergency and how you’ll recover from it.

  • Make sure you have copies of all your important data stored offsite or in the cloud. If something happens to your physical building, this will ensure your network can still function and that employees can return to work quickly after the disruption.
  • Ensure that everyone involved with creating and maintaining the plan knows about it and understands their responsibilities for carrying out its procedures when needed.
  • Create multiple backups in different locations so if one fails, another can take over seamlessly until it’s fixed. Examples include a local server and a cloud backup.


We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of cybersecurity for small businesses. It’s a topic that can seem daunting, but we all need to do our part in protecting ourselves from cyberattacks. If you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to making sure your company stays safe and secure!

Share This Post

Get our communications

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

More to explore